Effects of disease, antibiotic treatment and recovery trajectory on the microbiome of farmed seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax).

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Sci Rep






The mucosal surfaces of fish harbour microbial communities that can act as the first-line of defense against pathogens. Infectious diseases are one of the main constraints to aquaculture growth leading to huge economic losses. Despite their negative impacts on microbial diversity and overall fish health, antibiotics are still the method of choice to treat many such diseases. Here, we use 16 rRNA V4 metataxonomics to study over a 6 week period the dynamics of the gill and skin microbiomes of farmed seabass before, during and after a natural disease outbreak and subsequent antibiotic treatment with oxytetracycline. Photobacterium damselae was identified as the most probable causative agent of disease. Both infection and antibiotic treatment caused significant, although asymmetrical, changes in the microbiome composition of the gills and skin. The most dramatic changes in microbial taxonomic abundance occurred between healthy and diseased fish. Disease led to a decrease in the bacterial core diversity in the skin, whereas in the gills there was both an increase and a shift in core diversity. Oxytetracycline caused a decrease in core diversity in the gill and an increase in the skin. Severe loss of core diversity in fish mucosae demonstrates the disruptive impact of disease and antibiotic treatment on the microbial communities of healthy fish.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Peer Reviewed


Open Access


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